Nova Scotia ("New Scotland" in Latin) is a charming destination that includes stunning seacoast, backwoods wilderness, and Halifax cityscapes in one relatively compact place.  It was first named Acadie and claimed for France by Champlain in 1604. French settlers remained in Acadie until expelled by the British in the mid 18th century. Nova Scotia today still has many traditional Acadian French areas--in both the south and the north--combined with English, Scottish, and Irish descendants and influences.  Though many mistakenly think Nova Scotia is an island, it is a peninsula, connected to the neighboring province of New Brunswick by a thin strip of land.

The official website for Nova Scotia Tourism is www.novascotia.com

Depending on where you're coming in from, you'll arrive either by air, highway, ferry, or train

  • Halifax International Airport is the Atlantic Canadian hub for domestic, regional and international airline flights.
  • Ferry services from Bay Ferries arrive into Digby from New Brunswick. A new ferry cruise service from Portland, Maine to Yarmouth will start in May 2014, operated by Nova Star Cruises. 
  • Drivers arrive by way of the Trans Canada Highway from New Brunswick into Nova Scotia.
  • There is train service provided by VIA Rail Canada with sleeper accomodation and dining car service from Montreal that stops in Nova Scotia in Amherst, Truro and Halifax.  "The Ocean" leaves Montreal around 7 p.m. and arrives in Halifax around 4 p.m. the following day. 

Nova Scotia has seven tourism regions: Bay of Fundy & Annapolis Valley, Cape Breton Island, Eastern Shore, Halifax Metro, Northumberland Shore, South Shore, and Yarmouth & Acadian Shores.

 

Most tourism routes hug the coast, though the interior of the province has much to offer as well, including Kejimikujik National Park and the Tobeatic Wilderness, which together form the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve. There are five UNESCO-designated sites in Nova Scotia, which includes the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve,  Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Lunenburg, and Grand Pre. The largest provincial park, Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, at Advocate Harbour on the Bay of Fundy has attracted worldwide attention to this area of the province.

Halifax is a regional center and unofficial capital of the Maritime Provinces. The web site Destination Halifax has good information, including a guide for those considering meetings, retreats, or conferences.

The largest Acadian French/francophone municipality outside of Halifax is Argyle in Yarmouth County. There is also a lot of French culture in Clare, Digby County, especially along what is known as the French Shore. Cape Breton is noted as a stronghold of Celtic culture, with many Scottish and Irish descendants. There is also strong African Nova Scotian and Mi'kmaq culture in the province.